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The Mirror and Marriage

Whenever there are images from the media in the work, people tend to say that this work is Pop. This statement has lost meaning recently once one considers that mass culture is already 60 or 70 years old, and therefore everyone who Here they are, born at least in the era of radio and printed newspapers. In this way, almost every image we know either already comes from the media or will soon be absorbed by it and is therefore part of the so-called mass culture. That said, the focus of interest shifts to the choice of images and which discursive strategies the artist is proposing.


In the works that Gustavo von Ha presents at this time there are two subjects that stand out, they are: the mirror and marriage.


The mirror appears in the process that Von Ha used in the execution of these works, they are what he calls a magic mirror, a name referring to a drawing toy, a semi-mirrored acrylic plate that reflects on one side the original image that is on the same side. side. The drawing is made as if it were on top of the original, but on the contrary, mirrored. David Hockney in his book The Secret Knowledge has exhaustively demonstrated how many artists since the 1400s have used optical processes as a drawing tool. The mirror as a narcissistic, doubling element has appeared in painting ever since, but perhaps the most mirror-constructed painting was "Las Meninas", 1656, by Diego Velásquez.


It is not without reason that Lacan associates painting with a game of mirrors and contemplation[1], where the main subject manifests itself in a relationship of openings and crevices that culminates in the hidden genital organ of Infanta Margarida, then 5 years old, in the center of the painting, like a predestination figured in the mirror in the background, where the future image of the girl, the queen, can be seen, with her mesmerizing gaze[2].


The second subject that appears in his work is that of marriage. It is interesting to note the wide variety of partnerships that Gustavo managed to build: woman with two-headed monster, Batman and Robin, the seven dwarfs, princess and prince, men alone, women alone and Shrek alone. Even those who are alone in the drawing seem to be looking for someone. In a certain sense, these grooms looking for their bride resemble the love machine that Duchamp proposed in his Large Glass, 1923, as he said "the bride is basically an engine" and what moves her is the “gasoline of love (a secretion of their sexual glands)”[3].


It may seem like a natural choice, but if the choice were made by someone else there could be other images such as cars, motorcycles, sports, animals, plants, landscapes, insects, machines, fish, flags, signs, prints and much more.


Marriage as a driving force, the search for the other, even if it is in the mirror, the fear of isolation, these seem to be the analogies that Gustavo is putting in his works, which are much more complex than a simplifying analysis can produce. The search for the other says a lot about the person who seeks, "I am a little what I look for", like the duo that forms in the mirror, real and virtual.




Sergio Romagnolo

November 2008




[1] 13 Free Seminar, The Object of Psychoanalysis, Jacques Lacan, 1965, unpublished,



[2] The Eye and the Slit, Valêncio Xavier, Folha de São Paulo, Caderno +Mais, September 5, 1999.


[3] Duchamp, Calvin Tomkins, Cosacnaify, São Paulo, 2005, p. 14.

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